Archive for the The Old School Category

Fire Through Cotton

Posted in The Old School on March 6, 2009 by jeereg

The instructors try to keep things quiet, but that never, ever works.  The truth moves like fire through cotton, changing and brightening as it goes: students are being taken by Something Unknown.

The first gone was Edwin, on duty at the flight shed.  Then Marcus and Raymond.  Then a girl named Penelope.

Then Jeremy.

Shakti is pissed.

“Listen,” she tells James and some others.  “You know how this goes.”

“God,” says James.  “This is such a fucking cliche.”

“They’re not going to do anything.  It’s up-”

“Don’t.  Don’t say it’s up to us.”

“But -”

“We get it. Just shut up.”


Posted in The Old School on October 25, 2008 by jeereg

James is top of the class in Mathemagics, which doesn’t impress Shakti at all.

“It’s numbers,” she tells him over ice cream on the Roving Tower.  “That’s it.”

“That’s not it.  It’s the underlying principles that govern-”

“Bullshit.  It’s a license for me to beat you up.”

“Really?”  The tower turns so he’s backlit by the sunset.  “Wanna try?”

“Anytime, anywhere.  I could outduel a Mathemagician eyes closed.  This is what I do.”

They find a spot in the gym, and she tells him not to conjure himself into a locker.  Then he beats her three matches in a row.


Posted in The Old School on October 8, 2008 by jeereg

He puts a ward on the locker once the kid’s in there, and they walk away laughing.  It could be days until the door unsticks, but Marcus figures the janitor will come by.  Maybe he’ll tell someone, if Kyle doesn’t show up by Friday.

“Where to?” asks Raymond, in his sousaphone voice.

“No way I’m going to Graffitomancy.  You wanna throw stuff at the carpets?”

They slip into the Flight Shed through a window.  The carpets are a twisting mass, like wide snakes, agitated.

It takes Marcus a full three seconds to see why, and by then it’s too late.


Posted in The Old School on August 14, 2008 by jeereg

James meets Shakti during detention, when they’re both assigned to polish the Tricksy Mirrors. It’s hard work – their reflections keep fucking things up.

Eventually he works up the courage to ask: “So how’d you end up here?”

Shakti puts down her rag. “I sang zombies into Mariah’s world-dome.”

“Hah! Really?”

“She’s a bitch.”

“I know.”

Shakti’s mouth quirks into a grin, and she asks him the same question.

“I tried to tell someone the Clock on the Wall was off.”



“… Is it?”

Before James can answer, he notices the closest mirror and blushes. Their reflections are making out.

The Clock on the Wall

Posted in The Old School on July 13, 2008 by jeereg

James is worried about the Clock on the Wall.

It’s a beautiful, grand old thing, with inlaid gold on an ivory face, and a hard, firm tokk sound every second. As far as the chronomancers can tell, it isn’t off by a bare fraction. The Headmaster talks about it like it’s Objective Time itself, like the Clock is OT’s avatar.

James took the job as Clockwatcher for a little extra scratch over the term, and because no one, not even Marcos, would dare to deface it.

But on his first solo night shift, he swears it ticks backwards, just once.


Posted in The Old School on June 23, 2008 by jeereg

Under its crystalline dome, the world becomes. Skies leak across nothing, the land bursts into plains and mountains, water coalesces into oceans.

Shakti squints and twists her hands, stumbles through the key change she needs to sing to hold the waters. She can’t get the hang of coastlines. Her continents always end up looking like sheep.

She tries not to notice Mariah’s world on the next desk – the bitch has primates already – but her concentration snaps like a harp string. There’s a tiny cataclysm as her oceans boil and the skies burn.

Jeremy grins at her from behind, the idiot.